Musical comedy in the 1920s and 1930s: Mister Cinders and Me and My Girl as class-conscious carnival

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores British musical comedy of the 1920s and 1930s by focussing on the original London productions of Mister Cinders (1929) and Me and My Girl (1937). These shows present similar Cinderella-type narratives, both with a male protagonist in the Cinderella role, and thereby reflect contemporary class attitudes. Such class-conscious musical comedy can be read as a genteelly British and theatrical form of the carnival culture theorised by Mikhail Bakhtin. The chapter extends thinking on musical comedy by Len Platt but rejects his notion that the form lost its relevance by the late 1930s. The carnival of the shows reflects increased social interaction and class mobility engendered by the impact of modernity and offers communal revitalisation for the characters and audiences relative to prevailing social class structures. Such revitalisation can be seen to extend beyond the original productions and the chapter ends by considering their nostalgic revivals in the 1980s within the context of Thatcherite class politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of The British Musical
EditorsRobert Gordon , Olaf Jubin
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-0199988747
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017


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